Pictures don't do justice to what is BMW's best-selling sports model. The two-door 3 has a taut and poised air. It's as though the sheet metal has been stretched tightly over the engine and wheels, across the rear-set cockpit and down the softly finished tail. But it wouldn't be a head-turner without suitable finishing touches, and BMW hasn't disappointed here. Sleek wing mirrors, bespoke headlamps with ring running illumination and LED tail-lamps add to the rakish looks. A range of four and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines will be offered, from 320i and 320d to 335i and 335d range-toppers. Ample choice, then, to tackle the Mercedes CLK, Audi A5. Alfa Romeo Brera and Peugeot 407 Coupe.
Climb inside and the Coupe offers a personal touch - passing the driver and passenger their seatbelts once the doors have been pulled shut. It's a neat trick, even if it was pioneered by Mercedes long before. All occupants are guaranteed to be sitting comfortably, courtesy of a snug, driver-focused cockpit. It's civilised, well laid-out and assembled from top-quality materials. Needless to say, retained values reflect this by being excellent, and all engines supply a great balance of economy in relation to power output - particularly the 320i and 320d, which are as economical as small family hatchbacks. Prices are hefty, though, for both SE and M Sport variants.